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Finance committee hears from department heads

By Staff | Aug 16, 2013

Department heads from the fire department, police department and public works appeared in front of the Rugby City Council’s Finance Committee on Aug. 13 to submit proposed budgets for the 2014 year.

The Finance Committee will meet again on Aug. 22 before bringing a proposed budget to the full city council at its September meeting.

“We’re fairly close to a preliminary budget,” said city council president Arland Geiszler.

Chief David Schneibel Jr. of the Rugby Volunteer Fire Department was the first to meet with the committee.

Funding a new fire hall is the biggest expenditure that Schneibel requested, and Geiszler said that $50,000 will likely be budgeted to go toward the new hall.

“We’ve been doing that to help build that fund for a couple of years to help that project along,” he said. “The rural fire department also does contribute (to that fund).”

Aside from putting money toward the hall, most of Schneibel’s budget requests were for general operation.

“The major thing along with the fire hall, is some consideration for additional training,” Geiszler said. “Fire schools and fire drills in Rugby and looking at some new hoses for the fire trucks.”

Police Chief John Rose requested that money be budgeted in 2014 for a new vehicle, which the department wouldn’t need immediately, unless one of its current cars break down.

“In the preliminary discussions, the Finance Committee has earmarked $10,000 for vehicle replacement,” he said. “If the vehicles that are in use function for the next couple of years, we’ll use them. If we don’t have to replace them until 2016, hopefully there’s enough to replace them.”

Aside from some additional ammunition, a major point of discussion was salaries for officers. The department added a fifth officer in the spring, which cut down on overtime for Rugby’s officers.

The decrease in overtime has cost officers some pay, so the committee is considering pay increases to bring the officers closer to the income they’d made previously

“By adding the fifth officer, cutting down on overtime and giving a reasonable increase, it’s not going to have a huge adjustment on the budget,” Geiszler said.

Council member Gary Wentz and Public Works Supervisor Rick Larson went over a handful of budget items, including the addition of a new pickup, which would replace a 1998 model already being used.

Another major budget item was a new jet machine for the Sewer and Water Department.

The item had already been budgeted $30,000 for this year and the committee tentatively budgeted another $25,000, which including trade in for the current machine should cover the expense of a new one.

Geiszler said some other smaller projects, like improvements to the armory, can be taken out of reserves already established.

He said the tax burden on citizens in 2014 should be less than in 2013, in part because the increase in property values mean that mills are more valuable.

“We’re anticipating the amount of taxable revenue needed from the taxpayers will be less than last year’s (budget),” he said. “The total mills will be less.”

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